Ottawa Archives Reopening

The City’s Central Archives will resume in-person appointments for residents wishing to visit the Reference Room, starting Tuesday, 8 June.
Clients may make reservations for that week beginning Wednesday, 2 June by emailing or by phoning 613-580-2857.

via a Facebook post by Mike More.

WDYTYA Magazine: July 2021

It’s the beginning of June and already the July issue of WDYTYA magazine is available.

It’s a special one … for me. Look at this list of the three feature articles.

Parish Registers: Jonathan Scott presents our updated seven-page region-by-region guide to online parish registers

Sent to Canada: John D Reid reveals how thousands of British women married Canadian servicemen during the Second World War and emigrated to live with their new husbands.

Boxing and Wrestling: Sarah Elizabeth Cox climbs into the ring and grapples with the history of 19th-century boxing and wrestling.

As usual, there’s a lot more, and free as long as your Canadian public library subscribes to magazines via PressReader or Overdrive Magazines.

Europeans in East Africa

Many Europeans chose a warmer climate than Canada’s when they emigrated from 1880 to the start of the 2nd World War.  East Africa was a popular choice, especially for those from the UK. Europeans in East Africa is a free website, at, with information on thousands who chose to move to Kenya (mostly), Uganda or Tanzania. 

There are 210 Smiths so likely up to 20,000 entries in total. You can search by surname or use a detailed advanced search. You can also browse lists by surname. Many of the entries are rich in detail. Give it a try for someone who disappears from your family tree.

I found out about this site in a “new” newsletter from the Guild of One-Name Studies. The new global e-newsletter, only for Guild members, produced by Jean and Ken Toll, builds on one they have published locally for several years. It will be available monthly in February; March; May; June; August; September; November; and December. This issue has a list of resources including for various European countries — useful if you have ancestry from Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Iceland and more.


This Week’s Online Genealogy Events

Choose from free online events in the next five days. All times are ET except as noted. Those in red are Canadian, bolded if local to Ottawa. Assume registration in advance is required; check so you’re not disappointed.

This is OGS Conference Week. See the program at

Tuesday 1 June, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library.

Tuesday 1 June, 2 pm: Technical aspects of oral history, by Patrick Daglaris, Archivist, Oklahoma Oral History Research Program, OSU Library

Tuesday 1 June, 2:30 pm: Treasure Awaits: The Genealogy Center’s Digital Collections, A virtual tour of Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center..

Tues, 1 June, 7:30 pm:  Successful Collateral & Cluster Searching, by Thomas MacEntee for Durham Branch OGS.

Wednesday 2 June, 2 pm: Solving Family Mysteries with mtDNA Projects, by Mags Gaulden for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Wednesday 2 June, 7:30 pm: Secrets of Radar and Huron Co, by Maya Hirschman for Huron County Branch OGS.

Thursday 3 June 2 pm: Coming out of the pandemic: Onomastic research 2021 and beyond. The Deirdre Flanagan memorial lecture 2021 from the Ulster Place Name Society.

Thursday 3 June: 6:30 pm: The Basics of MyHeritage DNA, by Sara Allen for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Thursday, 3 June, 7 pm: Treasures in the Miscellaneous Collection. by Linda Corupe for OGS.

Friday 4 June. 8 am: Celtic Crosses, Identity and Symbolism in late 19th and early 20th Century Belfast, by Bronagh Patricia Murray. Part of the annual HeroNI Lecture Series. Host: DfC Historic Environment.

Saturday 5 June, 12:30 pm:  Lucille Campey will present to the BC Genealogical Society via Zoom. These are the same presentations given to BIFHSGO in February. Free to BCGS members. $25 to non-members!


19 – 26 September 2021: BIFHSGO Conference. Irish Lines and Female Finds: Exploring Irish records, female ancestors and genetic genealogy.


Internet Genealogy: June/July 2021

Here’s the table of contents for the new issue.

Researching English Criminal Ancestors
Michelle Dennis presents the evidence used to reveal the life and fate of her criminal ancestor

Written in Stone: Accessible Online
David A. Norris looks at online sources for locating gravestone inscriptions for ancestors who served

Research on the Run? Try MobileFamilyTree!
Tony Bandy reviews Synium Software’s mobile app for family research

Searching For Florida Ancestors?
Leslie Michele Derrough recommends online
resources available at the State Library and Archives

A Web of Oral History
Sue Lisk looks at online collections of oral histories and why they can be valuable to family historians

Immigrant Colonies of North Carolina
Diane L. Richard examines the period of the late 19th and early 20th century

Exploring City Directories Online in England and Wales
Ed Storey offers suggestions for researching your ancestors from across the pond

The Stories of General Stores
Sue Lisk suggests online sites that help you understand how general stores played a role in our ancestors’ lives

Deciphering Elusive Surnames
David A. Norris looks at coping with troublesome handwriting and smudged letters

Internet Genealogy looks at websites and related news that are sure to be of interest

Back Page: Perils of Deciphering Old Handwriting
Dave Obee says be flexible in interpreting the results of document translations

Go to where you can click an underlined heading to preview the first page of an article (except one-pagers)!


The Canadian Historical Association Annual Conference

The 2021 CHA conference is different this year in so many ways. It is entirely on-line. It occurs over eight days, and spans two months. None of the sessions are concurrent.

This isn’t in time for the first day. Here are my top three pick sessions for the remainder of the week:

2:15 – 3:30 pm. Settler Colonialism, Immigration, and Empire in Western Canada
3:45 – 5:00 pm: Residential Schools in History and Memory

4:15 – 5:30 pm: Epidemics, Pandemics, and Public Health Responses

Find out more and register at Attendance is free with a donation request.

See the full schedule, including the sessions in July, at


Library and Archives Canada: Risks and Uncertainties

Poking around on the LAC website I found a link to the document Quarterly Financial Report for the Quarter Ended December 31, 2020: Statement Outlining Results, Risks and Significant Changes in Operations, Personnel and Programs.

Aside from the financial information, it identifies three of LAC’s key risks:

Using its existing systems, LAC may not be able to acquire, manage and sustainably preserve the exponential volume of digital content it acquires and digitizes and that is transferred to it. To mitigate this risk, LAC must definitely optimize the systems, infrastructure, processes and tools that underpin its digital operations. The testing and deployment of LAC’s Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) and the development of the project to renew its archival information system will partially mitigate the effects of this risk, by contributing to the improvement of its capacity and the interoperability of its digital infrastructure.

Virtual access to LAC’s collection may not meet the expectations of current users and may not help it to attract more users. Developing LAC’s digital infrastructure, digitizing the collection, making it available and developing user-friendly digital tools are essential to facilitating access to the collection. To mitigate this risk, LAC will update its user-centric service delivery strategy. In addition, it will develop an integrated management approach for its virtual tools and services.

LAC may not have sufficient capacity to meet its legal obligations regarding access to the archival records of federal institutions and to personal information. LAC’s responsibilities in this area go well beyond those of other departments, since LAC is the custodian of billions of pages of documents that it holds on behalf of more than 200 Government of Canada (GC) organizations. LAC will continue to participate in GC efforts to identify
government-wide solutions to the challenges presented by the current delivery model. However, in view of the increasing volume and complexity of access requests subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, LAC will need to find solutions so that Library and Archives Canada can acquire the necessary digital tools and provide the required services in accordance with service standards. The development of a more efficient digital service delivery model will partially mitigate the effects of this risk.

The risks are expressed as “may not.”  That should be “do not.”

How can LAC honestly write the “exponential volume of digital content it … digitizes” when digitization has decreased? Maybe the exponential mentioned is an exponential decrease!

No doubt, virtual access to LAC’s collection does not meet the expectation of users. No question about it, both in terms of the response on the web and new digitization initiatives. What can we expect in terms of improvements to service as a result of the strategies and approaches mentioned?

LAC is not meeting legal requirements in response to the Access to Information requests. Delays are months and even a year and more. Regular clients have become surprised and delighted when a substantive response comes.

Military Monday Extra: No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station

Sometimes it takes a person at a distance to give us perspective and really appreciate value.

The No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station project, covered in this blog post by Paul Chiddicks who writes regularly for the UK Family Tree magazine, is a case in point. Read it for yourself.

Paul has many more blog posts worth investigating at

Thanks to Andrea Harding for bringing Paul’s blog post to my attention. Suggests like that are always welcome.

British Newspaper Archive May Additions

The British Newspaper Archive now has a total of 42,915,614 pages online (42,441,368 last month).

This month 65 papers had pages added (51 in the previous month). There were 29 (22) new titles. Dates range from 1802 to 1990.

Those with more than 10,000 pages added were:

Title Pages Dates
London and China Express 91,678 1858-1861, 1863-1905, 1907-1919, 1923-1931
West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser 78,714 1951-1956, 1959-1990
Lynn Advertiser 61,502 1926-1928, 1971-1977, 1980-1989
London Daily News 22,740 1912-1920
Cycling 22,076 1893, 1907-1912
Galway Express 16,428 1853-1920
Inverness Advertiser and Ross-shire Chronicle 15,382 1849-1885
Blackpool Gazette & Herald 15,326 1894-1896, 1899-1907, 1913-1919
Northern Weekly Gazette 13,608 1910, 1922-1931
Torquay Times, and South Devon Advertiser 13,076 1934-1949, 1951-1961
Teviotdale Record and Jedburgh Advertiser 12,050 1855-1872, 1874-1878, 1881, 1885-1910
Kirriemuir Free Press and Angus Advertiser 11,626 1915-1960

Military Monday: British War Dead on Your Street

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has just  completed War Graves Week to  “shine a light on our work.” Website visitors were invited to “discover your local connection” using a postcode link to “find out who lived in your area.”

While it does not work for Canadian postal codes you might want to check it out for UK addresses in your family’s past. Who from your ancestor’s neighbourhood lost their life? Was it someone they knew or from a family they knew? Can it give any insight into your ancestor’s wartime experience?

To find the present postcode, they didn’t exist until trialled in 1959, use the Royal Mail postcode finder.

Using my grandfather’s address in Edgeware the person found in the CWGC postcode search was Betty Mary Daphne Perrin, a civilian who died on 5 October 1944, age 17 years. She was the daughter of Henry and Evelyn Perrin and died at 5 Pembroke Place. That was 150 metres from my grandfather’s house.  There were two other casualties buried in the same cemetery who died on that day who lived even closer!

A brief description of a bomb experience just 500m from my grandfather’s home, it could have been the same raid, is at starting at the 7th paragraph. I can now appreciate his wartime experience a bit more.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

I’m sure I’ve seen that before, but worth repeating.

The Importance of Not Being Earnest
A panel discussion (audio mp3) from the LSE on what’s philosophically interesting about comedy. Both have a lot in common: showing up the ordinary as odd, critiquing the status quo, hecklers… But can humour be a source of knowledge?

Group-think: what it is and how to avoid it
Genealogical, family history, library and archive organizations aren’t exempt.

Royal archives that we pay for but aren’t allowed to read: a brief history
The examples are for Australia and the UK, but undoubtedly relevant for Canada.

TheGenealogist now has Image Archive pictures pinned to maps
See the video explanation and example at adds The Evening Standard and The Independent

Thanks to this week’s contributors: Anonymous, Celia Lewis, Douglas Wallace, Jo Stanbridge, Judith H., Michael Harrison, Robert Halfyard, Roger Thomas, Unknown.

OGS/Ontario Ancestors Conference Week

Starting on Monday there’s a gradual build-up to a full weekend of lectures during the annual OGS conference, this year all online.

Monday thru Thursday the single sessions start at 7 pm.

Thursday is the regular monthly OGS webinar open to the public with no fee.

Friday is Ancestry Day, a separate registration event.

Proceedings on Saturday and Sunday start at 9 am with two parallel sessions. On Saturday at 3 pm there’s an allowance for a 2-hour OGS Annual General Meeting. On Sunday session go until 5:40 pm.

All the details and registration are at